Wayne’s Weekend: Irish Boxty Adds Crunchy Flavor To St. Patrick’s Day Spread

Make Irish potato pancakes along with other traditional Irish favorites for St. Paddy's

Every year for St. Patrick's Day, I like to put together a spread of traditional Irish foods.  From the wonderful people I met on my trip to Ireland a few years ago to the dear Irish friends I have here in Chicago, I've gotten a number of authentic recipes.  Plus, I continue to experiment on my own to create flavors reminiscent of some dishes I tasted on my trip a few years ago (and couldn't get the recipe). 

My latest recipe, the Irish Boxty, is a flavorful potato pancake made with shredded and mashed potatoes.  Served warm, it's crunchy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside.  Try it plain with a bit of sour cream or add a bit of smoked salmon and fresh dill to make it more of a meal.

Irish Boxty
makes about 10-12 potato pancakes about 4"-5" in diameter


2 lb Potatoes
3/4 cu Buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 lg Egg
1/2 cu All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Olive Oil
2 tbl Butter, melted
1/4 cu Scallions, sliced
1/2 cu Sour Cream


Peel potatoes.  Cut half of the potatoes into 1/2" cubes and place them in a pot.  Fill pot with water to cover potatoes and set it on high heat.  Bring to a boil and cook for 12 minutes until potatoes are tender.  Remove from heat and drain.  Place potatoes in a bowl and add 1/4 cup of buttermilk.  Mash together until smooth.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, mix together flour, black pepper and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside.  Separately, shred the other half of potatoes with a box grater.  Place potatoes in a colander and toss with 1 teaspoon of salt.  Set the colander on a plate or baking pan to allow moisture to drip.  After 20 minutes, press potatoes against side of colander to remove as much liquid as possible.  Add shredded potatoes to flour mixture and toss to coat. 

In a separate bowl, mix together remaining cup of buttermilk with the egg and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Add mashed potatoes and mix thoroughly and then stir in shredded potatoes and any remaining flour mixture in the bowl. 

Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add a bit of the butter and olive oil and drop 1/4 cup portions of the batter into the skillet, about 3 at at time.  Cook for about 4 minutes per side until golden brown.  Repeat with remaining batter.  You can place cooked boxties on a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven to keep them warm while cooking the remainder.

Serve boxties warm with a bit of sour cream and sliced scallions.  These are also great with a bit of smoked salmon and a few sprigs of dill.

Banoffee Pie


14 oz Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 cu Graham Crackers Crumbs, about 2 packets of a three packet box
1/2 cu Unsalted Butter, melted
3 Ripe Bananas
2 cu Heavy Cream
1/2 cu Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
2 oz Bittersweet Chocolate squares


Remove the label from the condensed milk can and set aside.  Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the can by a few inches and bring it to a boil.  Carefully place the unopened can into the water.  Reduce heat to a low boil and cover.  Keep the water boiling for 3 hours, adding additional water if necessary (I keep a second pot of simmering water on the stove so boiling process isn’t impeded with the additional water).  Turn and flip the can from time to time during the cooking process with tongs.  BE VERY CAREFUL not to splash the water about.

Meanwhile, pour the melted butter over the graham crackers and mix thoroughly.  Pour mixture into a spring form pan and spread ingredients evenly over the bottom.  Press down firmly to pack the crust.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

Once condensed milk has boiled for 3 hours, remove it from the water and let it rest for about 30 minutes so that it cools.  Carefully open can and pour ingredients into a bowl.  Use a spatula to stir and smooth out any chunks.  Spread this mixture over the graham cracker crust and refrigerate again until cool. 

Slice bananas and spread them evenly over toffee topping.  Whip cream until soft peaks form.  Add powdered sugar and cinnamon and whip until stiff peaks form.  Spread whipped cream over bananas and refrigerate the dessert until you are ready to serve.

Remove pie from the spring form pan.  Grate the chocolate with either a potato peeler or a box grater and garnish the top of the pie before slicing and serving. 

Irish Stew
Serves 4 to 6.
Courtesy of Donncha and Cathy Carroll


1/4 cu Olive Oil
1 1/4 lb Stewing Beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 lg Garlic Cloves, minced
6 cu Beef Stock
1 cu Guinness Beer
2 tbl Irish Whiskey (optional)
1 cu Red Wine
2 tbl Tomato Paste
1 tbl Sugar
1 tbl Dried Thyme (I substituted 1 1/2 tsp Fresh Thyme)
1 tbl Worcestershire Sauce
2 Bay Leaves
3 tbl Real Butter (Kerrygold if you can get it)
3 lb Spuds, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 lg White Onion, chopped
2 cu Carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and Pepper


Season beef with about 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, whiskey, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

While the meat and stock is simmering, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes.

Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes.

Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.


For a little extra hit of flavor, roast half of the potatoes in a 350 degree oven with 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary for about 40 minutes. Stir the potatoes a few times while they are roasting.

Add these potatoes to the stew with the remaining carrots, onions, and potatoes.

Brown Bread


1 cu All Purpose Flour
1 cu Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cu Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
1/2 cu Wheat Germ
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
6 tbl very cold Real Butter (Kerrygold if you can find it), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cu Buttermilk


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix flours, oats, wheat germ, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Mix in butter with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour in buttermilk and mix until dough forms. Knead dough for just a minute and mound into a ball. Flatten out slightly to form a 6-inch round. Cut and "X" across the top about 4-inches wide and about 1/2 inch deep.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until bread sounds hollow when you thump it. Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool.



2 1/2 All-Purpose Flour
1 tbl Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
3 oz Cold Butter, cut into a small dice
1 lg Egg
1 1/4 cu Buttermilk
2 tbl Sugar
I cu Mixed Dried Fruit (optional), soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder.   Add the sugar and salt and stir to combine.  Work butter into the flour mixture quickly with your hands by rolling the floury butter between your thumb and fingers until mixture resembles the texture of breadcrumbs.  Add fruit (optional).  Stir the egg into the buttermilk and then pour over the flour mixture.  Fold with a spatula until ingredients are just combined.

Put about 1/4 cup of flour on a work surface and transfer mixture onto it.  Knead the dough slightly and then gently roll it out to about a 1” to 1 1/2 “ thickness.  Cut out scones with a 2 1/2“ fluted cutter.  Dip the cutter in flour so that dough cuts clean (that will help scones rise evenly).  Transfer the scones to a baking sheet with a spatula.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm with butter, jam and heavy cream.

Traditional Irish Breakfast

A traditional Irish breakfast often includes eggs, bangers, Irish bacon, beans, brown bread, and black and white pudding.  I just found a great resource in the city for many of these items.  Spencer's Jolly Posh, at Irving Park and Southport, makes their own bangers, and black and white pudding and also carry beans and Irish bacon.  The store also stocks a number of other tasty British and Irish imports and ships anywhere in the US.

Have a fun and safe St. Patrick's Day celebration!  If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

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